March 25th, 2015

1500+ Cartridge Types in Cartridges of the World

Cartridge of World Guide bookThe 14th Edition of Cartridges of the World is a handy reference that contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (released in December 2014) includes 50 new cartridges. This important reference guide can be ordered through Amazon.com for $28.42 (or just $20.99 for a Kindle eBook version).

Cartridges of the World, the most widely-read cartridge reference book, has been totally updated, with a newly expanded, full-color 64-page color section featuring essays from some of today’s most prominent gun writers. The 14th Edition of Cartridges of the World (ISBN: 9781440242656) includes updated cartridge specs, plus essays by leading writers on the topics of SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. Cartridges of the World is the most authoritative cartridge reference guide in print.

Cartridges of World Barnces 13th Edition

Cartridges of the World by author Frank C. Barnes was first published in 1965. The 14th Edition is edited by W. Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests magazine and author of several firearms reference books. Frank Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case.

Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver. Learn more about Cartridges of the World (14th Ed.) at www.gundigest.com.

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March 23rd, 2015

Norma Debuts New Lead-Free “Ecostrike” Bullet

Silver Bullet Ecostrike Bullion NormaThe Lone Ranger used silver bullets… now you can too. Well, they’re not really silver, but they look like silver and they are lead-free. Norma’s new ECOSTRIKE™ bullet features a copper core with a proprietary silver-color plating to reduce fouling. Why is Norma offering a lead-free bullet? Well, in some locations, such as California, the use of traditional, lead-core bullets has been highly restricted. The Ecostrike give hunters the opportunity to shot hard-hitting, deep-penetrating projectiles, even where lead-cored bullets are banned. Norma explains: “The Ecostrike is designed to give… penetration deep enough to reach the vital organs even on large animals. The controlled expansion and a very high retained weight guarantee a consistent behavior and deep penetration.”

Being totally lead-free, Ecostrike bullets are California-compliant, and they can be used in other regions where lead ammo is restricted. Currently, Norma plans to offer Ecostrike bullets in four popular calibers: 7mm (.284), .308 (7.62 mm), 8mm, and 9.3 mm. Spanning the range from 7mm up to 9.3 mm, Ecostrike bullets will be available for the most popular big game cartridge types. Norma also plans to produce loaded ammunition featuring the new Ecostrike bullet.

Silver Bullet Ecostrike hunting projectile lead-free ecology Norma

Silver Bullet Ecostrike Bullion Norma
“Silver Bullet” Bullion cartridges are produced by the NW Territorial Mint. The Norma Ecostrike bullets contain no silver, just copper and a proprietary plating. But they do look like silver bullets.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 22nd, 2015

Norma .284 Winchester Brass In Production

In January, during SHOT Show, Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia inked a contract with Norma to produce ultra-high-quality .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass. This was great news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win is the caliber to beat in F-0pen competition and the 6mm Dasher holds most of the records in the 600-yard benchrest game.

We’ve just learned that the new Norma .284 Win brass is in production and should be available in five to six weeks. Shiraz tells us: “Production is in full swing in Sweden and the picture below shows the very first .284 Win case that came off the line. They [.284 Win cases] are in testing and we expect to have them here in USA by the end of April.”

Norma .284 Win Winchester Bullets.com brass casing case

Bullets.com should start taking pre-orders in the near future. Shiraz explained: “As far as pre-orders for the Norma .284 Win brass go, we are waiting for final pricing. When we have that, we will make the .284 Win brass active on our Bullets.com website and will take orders. Those orders will be shipped in the order they were received.”

Norma .284 Win Winchester Bullets.com brass casing case
NOTE: This is just a QuickDESIGN drawing, NOT the Norma brass blueprint. Dimensions may vary slightly, so do not use this to spec reamers or other tools. Wait until you can measure the actual brass.

What about 6mm Dasher Brass from Norma?
Dasher fans will have to wait a little longer. Shiraz Balolia says: “It may be months for the Dasher brass. We will keep on them, but if I were to guess, it will be late summer 2015″.

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March 21st, 2015

The Best Gun Salesman Since Samuel Colt

Add the Washington Post to the growing list of sources that credit President Obama with being the best salesman for firearms and ammunition that the country has seen since Samuel Colt. Using a simple linear trend analysis based on NSSF-supplied data, Washington Post writer Philip Bump calculated that the U.S. firearms industry has enjoyed a $9 to $10 billion increase in sales of guns and ammo during President Obama’s terms in office. CLICK HERE for full story in Washington Post.

Obama Gun Sales Ammunition Increase NSSF Trend Washington Post

Take a look at this chart — it shows a huge increase in sales of long guns, handguns, and ammunition during the Obama presidency. (NOTE: There is a decline at the extreme right of the chart because 2014 data only goes through the third quarter of the year.) You can seen why there have been shortages of ammunition. Look at the huge spike in ammo sales (orange zone) over the past six years. This may explain why some retailers ironically refer to the nation’s top elected official as “President ObAMMO”.

By comparing past industry sales numbers with figures for the past six years, the Washington Post calculates that the firearms industry has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth: “If you calculate out the difference between what might have been expected and what was, it’s about a $10 billion increase [in sales]”. We’ve seen evidence that things are cooling off, but according to the Washington Post: “The $9 to $10 billion in increase under Obama will keep growing, through the end of 2016. At which point gun manufacturers will probably be sad to see Obama go — even if gun buyers are not.”

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March 19th, 2015

Terminal Ballistics — Video Explains Basic Principles

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.

The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.

Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

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March 19th, 2015

Why Carbide Mandrels Work Better for Neck-Turning

If you have ever turned a large quantity of case-necks using power assist, you know that a carbide mandrel can make the job go easier, with better end results. In our experience, when using carbide mandrels (as opposed to ordinary steel), the cases move more smoothly with less heat build-up. Pat Reagin of PMA Tool explains why carbide neck-turning mandrels work better:

Carbide offers several advantages over conventional steel and stainless steel when making any tooling, specifically neck-turning mandrels:

Dimensional Stability — Carbide maintains its dimensions indefinitely during heating and cooling. This eliminates the need to allow the mandrel time to cool every few cases.

Coefficient of Friction and Wear-Resistance — Carbide exhibits a low coefficient of friction value as compared to all steels and wears up to 100 times longer. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the amount of lubricant required.

Galling Resistance — Carbide has exceptional resistance to galling and welding at the surface. This basically eliminates the chance of getting a case stuck on a mandrel due to insufficient lubrication.

Given the benefits of carbide neck-turner mandrels, you may be asking “where can I get one?” Sinclair Int’l offers carbide mandrels for Sinclair neck-turners for $49.99, in a full range of calibers: 17, 20, 22, 6mm, 25, 6.5mm, 270, 30, and 338.

PMA Tools Carbide neck turning mandrel neck turner$49.95 Carbide Mandrels from PMA Tool
PMA Tools now also offers carbide mandrels in a full variety of sizes. At $49.95 each, PMA’s carbide mandrels are priced competitively with Sinclair’s mandrels. PMA offers carbide mandrels in .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm and .30-caliber. These will work with Sinclair Int’l and 21st Century neck-turners, as well as PMA neck-turners. PMA tells us: “We now have carbide neck-turning mandrels in stock. These mandrels are made with high-tech CNC grinding-machinery, and should give you excellent results. We hope to be add other larger-caliber carbide mandrels to our lineup in the future.”

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March 15th, 2015

AmmoSeek.com Finds Ammunition and Reloading Components

Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. Ammoseek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Need .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select “.45 ACP” from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies

Find .22 LR Ammo Quickly
Looking for hard-to-find .22 LR rimfire ammunition? Well AmmoSeek makes it easy — you don’t even have to enter any search words. Simply click on the highlighted links for AmmoSeek’s 22LR Page.

CLICK HERE for AmmoSeek.com .22 LR Ammo Search Results

Use Ammoseek.com to Find Reloading Components Too
Ammoseek.com also lets you search for reloading components, including powder, primers, brass, and bullets. This is a huge time-saver. You can instantly check a dozen or more vendors to see if a particular type of powder is in stock. Likewise, you can quickly check for primer availability. If you have a big match coming up and are short on primers — this could solve the problem.

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies

Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 11th, 2015

ATF Shelves Plan to Ban M855 Ammo — For Now at Least

NSSF ATF m855
Photo courtesy NSSF.

Count this as a small victory for gun owners — the ATF’s proposed ban on “Green Tip” M855 ammo has been taken off the table — for now at least. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives (ATF) announced that it will rethink its proposed ban on commonplace 5.56x45mm M855 “green tip” ammunition. ATF has shelved the M855 ban for the time being while it reviews the 80,000+ comments it has received on the issue. The Shooting Wire noted that: “In addition to those 80,000 comments from average citizens, letters from both houses of Congress warned the ATF [that its] proposal was…a violation of law as Congress had exempted M855 from armor piercing classification because of its widespread use for recreational and competition shooting.” Though the matter is “off the table” for now, ATF will continue to accept comments through March 16, 2015.

ATF Statement Regard Proposed M855 Ban

“Thank you for your interest in ATF’s proposed framework for determining whether certain projectiles are ‘primarily intended for sporting purposes’ within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C). The informal comment period will close on Monday, March 16, 2015. ATF has already received more than 80,000 comments, which will be made publicly available as soon as practicable. Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen, the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.”

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March 9th, 2015

Vista Outdoor — Parent of Bushnell, CCI, Federal, Savage & More

You may not have heard of Vista Outdoor (NYSE: VSTO), but you’ll know many of the brands under its corporate umbrella: Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, Bolle, Bushnell, CCI, Federal Premium, Outers, RCBS, Savage Arms, Simmons, Speer, Weaver. To learn more about Vista Outdoor’s operations and products, visit www.vistaoutdoor.com or Vista Outdoor’s Facebook Page.

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Brands. | CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Company History

So what is Vista Outdoor? This corporate giant used to be the sporting division of ATK (Alliant Techsystems*). In February of this year, ATK split into two separate companies. The outdoor sports/hunting/shooting brands (with annual revenues of $2.3 billion) were consolidated into Vista Outdoor. The aerospace/military contract operations of ATK were continued in a second company, Orbital ATK. Vista Outdoor, now head-quartered in Clearfield, Utah, is a standalone, publicly-traded outdoor sports and recreation company with approximately 5,800 employees worldwide.

In a recent interview with GearJunkie.com, Vista Outdoor’s Chairman/CEO Mark DeYoung revealed that Vista Outdoor will release scores of new products in 2015:

Q: Looking ahead for this year, what to-be-released products are you most excited about?

A: Bushnell has a rangefinder for golf that is innovative. We introduced it at the PGA Show. The A17 rifle from Savage is big news — we sold out of a whole year’s capacity at the SHOT Show. Overall, there are about 130 new products coming this year from our brands[.]

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

Vista Outdoor Started Trading as VSTO on February 10, 2015
Vista Outdoor “went live” as a separate, publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange on February 10, 2015. Here is the official press release:

Vista Outdoor Inc. (NYSE: VSTO), which previously operated as the Sporting Group of Alliant Techsystems Inc. (“ATK”), announced today the successful completion of its spin-off from ATK (NYSE: ATK) into a standalone, publicly traded outdoor sports and recreation company.

On February 9, 2015, ATK distributed to its stockholders two shares of Vista Outdoor common stock for every share of ATK common stock held as of record on February 2, 2015. Vista Outdoor common stock will begin “regular-way” trading under the symbol “VSTO” on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) today, February 10, 2015, when markets open.

“Today marks the creation of a new leading commercial and consumer-products company focused on innovative solutions, strategic customer partnerships, execution excellence and creating long-term shareholder value,” said Mark DeYoung, Vista Outdoor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our consumers depend on our products to deliver quality and performance in a variety of outdoor environments and activities. Our mission is to bring the world outside, and to support and facilitate the success of outdoor enthusiasts as they strive to achieve their own rugged independence.”

About Vista Outdoor Inc.
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Outdoor Products and Shooting Sports, and has more than 30 well-recognized brands that provide consumers with a wide range products in the ammunition, firearms and outdoor accessories categories. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 10 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

*Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) came into being as an independent company in 1990 when Honeywell spun off its defense businesses to shareholders. ATK got into the ammo business in 2001 when it acquired Blount International. ATK grew with later acquisitions of Weaver Optics (2008), Blackhawk (2010), Savage Arms (2013), and Bushnell (2013).

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 8th, 2015

Don’t Try to Trickle These Sticks… Powder for Big Naval Guns

Story by Boyd Allen
While many top competitive shooters trickle their stick powder charges to a kernel or two, that would be impractical when loading charges for giant naval guns. You may be surprised, but the shells fired by the U.S. Navy’s massive 14″ and 16″ naval guns were also propelled by stick-type extruded powders. You couldn’t trickle these ‘kernels’ though — a single stick or ‘grain’ can be over 2″ long. Take a look…

DuPont artillery naval powder cannon gun kernel propellant stick

In connection with a Benchrest Central discussion that drifted to the subject of powders used in large naval guns, I heard from Joe McNeil, whose father was involved in manufacturing those very propellants as a DuPont employee. Joe writes:

“My Dad worked for the DuPont company for over 40 years. Every time the nation went to war he was assigned to the gun powder plants which DuPont ran for the government for $1.00 per year! His last assignment was at the Indiana Ordnance Plant in Jefferson, Indiana from 1952 through 1958. He had a display case made of all of the different powders made at the plant and left it to me. That’s why I have a grain of 16″ gun powder. He took me out to the Jefferson proving grounds once when they tested the powder in a 16″ gun. We watched from a half-mile away but it left a lasting impression when they fired that gun. They actually had a set of rings they fired through to test the performance of the powder and shell. This was a truly fond memory of my Dad and his work.”

Here are some pictures of the gun powder “grains” made during the Korean War at the Indiana Ordnance Works where Joe McNeil’s father worked.

DuPont artillery naval powder cannon gun kernel propellant stick

DuPont artillery naval powder cannon gun kernel propellant stick

Above is the display case with the different powders manufactured at the DuPont plant. They include: 37 MM/AA, 75MM Pack Howitzer, 50 Cal. 5010, 20 MM 4831, 30 Cal. 4895, 76 MM, 3″, 5″, 90 MM, 4.7″, 240MM, 8″, 280 MM, 175 MM, 155 MM Howitzer, 155 MM Gun M.P., 8″ Gun M.P., 12″, 14, 16″. There are different-sized ‘grains’ for specific rounds.

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March 5th, 2015

Pennsylvania Ammo Vending Machine Sparks Controversy

You have to love this — a shooting facility in Western Pennsylvania has its own ammo vending machine. This is the same kind of machine normally used to sell snack foods. But at the Beaver Valley Rifle & Pistol Club (BVRPC), you can get .38 Specials instead of Pretzels. The vending machine offers a wide assortment of pistol cartridges, packaged in 50-round bags. Fifty 9mm Luger rounds cost $21.00 and yes the machine takes credit cards.

Beaver Valley Rifle Pistol Club vending machine ammo ammunition

The machine was installed by Sam Piccinini, owner of the Master Ammo Company. Sam says the machine is a convenience for club members, who had trouble finding ammo that complied with Club rules prohibiting jacketed bullets: “Most conventional commercial ammunition manufactured today is jacketed, and jackets can separate from the lead when it hits the backstops in gun ranges.” All the ammo in the vending machine features non-jacketed bullets. Piccinini states: “The machine sells pretty much everything — from .22 long rifle to .45 Long Colt and every standard caliber in between except .32 and .25 automatic. It’s got 380, 9, 38, 40, 45, .357 SIG.” (Source BeaverCountian.com)

Beaver Valley Rifle Pistol Club vending machine ammo ammunition

Mainstream media reports of the ammo vending machine have spurred controversy. ATF rules prohibit an ammo-maker from selling handgun ammunition to persons under 21 years of age. The machine is located inside a locked, private facility restricted to persons over 18. On the machine is the warning: “You must be over 21 to purchase handgun ammunition from this machine.” BVRPC President Bill Fontana states: “It’s nobody’s business, it’s our club, we can do as our members allow us. Legally there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”

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March 5th, 2015

Creedmoor Sports Has Lake City (Federal) XM855 Ammo

You probably know by now that the ATF is seeking comments on a proposed regulation that would ban the importation and sale of M855 steel-core 5.56x45mm ammunition. The ATF has proposed banning this “green-tip” ammo (and similar products) on the grounds that it is “armor piercing”.

Nobody knows whether the proposed ban will actually go into effect. The ATF is solicting comments through March 16, 2015. The mere possibility of a ban has spurred a feeding frenzy of ammo sales. If you are looking for genuine M855-type Green Tip ammo, suitable for use in AR-platform rifles, Creedmoor Sports recently obtained a large supply. Creedmoor just located quantities of Lake City-produced, American Eagle-brand XM855 in cardboard boxes: “Our team found another source for 5.56 mm XM855F Federal Lake City Green Tip Ammo. This ammo is becoming almost impossible to source the closer we get to the [March 16th end] of the ATF comment period.”

CLICK HERE to ORDER XM855F from Creedmoor Sports ($210.00 for 300 rounds).

Lake City M855 5.56 62gr Green Tip Ammunition (300 Rounds)
M855 Green Tip Ammunition Ammo Creedmoor

M855 Green Tip Ammunition Ammo Creedmoor

Product Description
High-quality 5.56x45mm ammo made in the USA by Lake City. This is “XM855″ ball ammo with a steel penetrator in the core, surrounded by a copper jacket. The projectile is color-coded with a green-painted tip as is traditional with US-made M855.

Product Specifications:
* Manufacturer: Federal / Lake City
* Model: XM855
* Caliber: 5.56 NATO (5.56x45mm)
* Grain Weight: 62 Grains
* Type: Full Metal Jacket with Penetrator
* Units per Case: 300 (in two 150ct boxes)

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